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LPS-GV202: Change and Continuity: Chinese Politics and Public Policy

The 19th National Congress of the Communist Party of China will be held in Beijing in the Autumn of 2017, with China's top leaders meeting to discuss the future direction of country and party.

With the coming Congress as the backdrop, this course seeks to introduce students to the main issues in the study of Chinese politics, with a special focus on the policy-making process in contemporary China.

In the first two lectures, the instructors will cover, very briefly, the political development of China from late Qing to late 1980’s, helping students to understand the main themes of Chinese politics and the background to the current political problems. In lectures 3 and 4, we will analyze the institutional characteristics of the Chinese party-state, covering the main models behind the Chinese policy-making process. Lectures 5 to 7 explore some examples illustrating the power and shortcomings of these models.

In lectures 8-9, the focus shifts to the challenges now faced by the Chinese leadership, ranging from state capacity decline to the increasing social instabilities. Whether and how these problems can be handled will arguably define the political future of the Chinese nation. The final lecture reviews the current debate about China’s political future. Hopefully, after taking the whole course, the students will have formulated their own informed and well-grounded arguments on this topic.

Full course outline

About the Instructor

 Zhang Jian

Dr Zhang Jian joined the faculty of the School of Government, Peking University in 2007, after receiving his PhD in political science from Columbia University in the City of New York, USA. His research interests include ethnic minority issues in China, identity politics, political participation and state/nation building in the developing world. He teaches Chinese politics, American politics and ethnic studies at Peking University.